December 14, 2018

Topics and goals of palliative care and hospice care initiative

Criterion staff report

A case study was developed to state the reasons for creating a collaborative initiative by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Ascension St. Vincent and Franciscan Health to raise awareness of and education on palliative care and hospice care. It also outlines the goals of the initiative.

The document notes that for patients receiving palliative care or hospice care, it is “a time for listening, praying, reassuring, and often, a time for emotional healing,” and that providing such “compassionate … care is a ministry that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Ascension St. Vincent and Franciscan St. Francis Health are uniquely able to fulfill, because of our commitment to carrying out the healing ministry of Christ.”

Below are the areas to be addressed, and some of the actions hoped to be taken by the initiative, as listed in the case study.

Provide education

  • Provide structured training opportunities … on how to support families as they are faced with end of life decisions.
  • Develop content for Having Difficult Conversations, a lecture series … [that] seeks to reduce the unnecessary pain and suffering often associated with inadequate advance care planning.
  • Educational efforts focusing on … legislative issues that may arise.
  • Enhance education on palliative care and end-of-life discussions … through the use of Respecting Choices Patient Information pamphlets that help families explore and discuss difficult end-of-life issues.

Increase pastoral and spiritual care services

  • Enhance the support structure available to parish bereavement programs offered in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis with a goal of expanding this ministry to all parishes in central and southern Indiana.
  • Financial support of the No One Dies Alone program, which provides the reassuring presence of a volunteer companion to dying patients who would otherwise be alone. Funds would be used for volunteer training and items of comfort for patients or their family members.
  • Strengthen existing bereavement services such as individual and family counseling, as well as structured support groups.

Support of palliative medicine and hospice care

  • Support specialized patient comfort and care services such as massage therapy, aromatherapy, art therapy and music therapy, [and] to purchase iPads for use as a communication tool for ventilated or otherwise non-verbal patients, so they can better communicate with their families.
  • Financially assist hospice and palliative patients and their families who may not meet strict criteria for charity care, but are still struggling with expenses related to gas, meals, and/or groceries.


Related story: Combined effort promotes palliative and hospice care as ‘embodying Catholic teaching’

Local site Links: